(Submitted by Prince Adam, and enhanced with badass bonus #WCW pics by yours truly…You’re welcum, Kinky Hos!! 😉 xoxo)
Dynamite Entertainment is pleased to reintroduce readers to the scourge of the undead, Vampirella – and she’s all that stands between us and the end of the world! Vampi’s back and hot on the corpse-strewn trail of her nemesis, Vlad Dracula! It’s a darker world for Vampirella, and something more sinister than vampires lurks in the shadows… something even Dracula himself has cause to fear! Collects the first seven issues of Dynamite’s hit ongoing Vampirella series, and features a complete cover gallery by Alex Ross, J Scott Campbell, Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, Joe Madureira, and others. (Dynamite)
This is my first time reading Vampirella. I don’t know what took me so long, but I can promise you it won’t be my last. (“Yay!! Welcum to the Dark Side, Ho-mie!!” -D.P.) The story is a vampire on the side of good, carrying out a quest to vanquish fellow bloodsuckers on the side of evil. The book doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of vampire powers or long standing lore. You could say the first couple issues plays things incredibly safe. If you’ve read/seen Blade, or Angel, you’ll fall into the trap of feeling as though you’ve seen all this before. Had the story continued down a “by the numbers” path, I would’ve been ok with that. This is largely due to the fact that our vampire hero is a woman. More often than not, the female in vampire stories is the damsel in distress, or a concubine. As someone who loves seeing strong female heroines in comic books, and as someone who is writing a comic book about a female superhero, it was an absolute joy reading and seeing Vampirella kick ass. And believe me; Vampirella kicks all kinds of ass, above and below Seattle, in a night club, and even in the recesses of her mind. More on that later though. Something simple that I liked about this book was it being set in Seattle. Vampire books I’ve read are often set in LA, New York, or obviously, Transylvania, so it was a nice change of pace to see some place different like Seattle. I also like Vampirella’s reasoning for why it’s easier to defeat a “new born” vampire. The reason being they are essentially drunk on blood. Vampirella spends a good portion of the first half of the story fighting these newbie vampires, who are under the control of Le Fanu, one of Dracula’s oldest and most trusted lieutenants. Her appearance, and the constant Dracula name drops, suggested that he was the main villain, and while he does have a presence in the story in a big way, this is not the case.
The twist is that Le Fanu and her hive of vampires have revolted against Dracula and worship an ancient evil referred to as the worm, or by his true name, Yag-Ath Vermellus. This being is older than creation itself, sired the very first vampire and is the source of their thirst and power. When Vampirella first comes into contact with the worm, she and the readers are taken into a dream like state, where she encounters a more “evil” version of herself who urges her and tries to tempt her into embracing and giving into her vampiric thirst. When she awakens from this dream like state, Vampirella is in a bit of a mental fog, and is battling to stifle her vampiric urges and bloodlust. I liked this development. It gave Vampirella as a story and characters some complexity. I like my comics where the character is both enduring an internal emotional struggle, as well as an outward physical struggle. Dracula plays a very duplicitous role in this story. At first he asks for Vampirella’s aid in defeating the worm, and when she finally agrees to put her animosity for him behind her, he double crosses her and serves her up to the worm, who possess her and uses her as a way to wreak havoc on our world. I liked that the writer didn’t blow his load on the Vampirella vs. Dracula fight in the first arc. Keep building up the full on fight throughout the course of the series before dropping it in the story. In the meantime, the conflict of this story is Vampirella against The Worm inside her own mind. I’m a huge fan of Inception and Sucker Punch, so for me, this was fascinating to watch unfold. In addition to that, we get a worm possessed Vampirella who lay’s waste to both Le Fanu and Dracula’s minions. Seeing how violent and cruel Vampirella can be, when she “lets loose” definitely makes you grateful she’s on our side.
The art is by Wagner Reis, with an assist by Fabiano Neves. There isn’t a drastic difference between the two, so the transition is barely even noticeable. The opening panel featuring the Seattle City scape, complete with Seattle Space Needle looked great. The detail put into showcasing the city streets, and back alley’s was quite extensive. Even the back alleys and slums of Seattle looked so good, that I wanted to go there. Seattle Travel & Tourism should hire these artists. I’ll admit, I was a little distracted whenever Vampirella was on the page. I kept thinking how much she looks like our very own Web Mistress Ms. Diana Prince! (Awww…Ok. You get that raise you’ve been asking for… ;)) Hollywood needs to make an updated film and cast our beloved Nerd Queen in the title role! Shall we start a petition? While I’m on the subject, the imagery of Dracula looked like the actor who played Ares in Hercules & Xena. (Aw. R.I.P. :() Vampirella wore two outfits; One was a buttoned red shirt, with leather pants and a leather jacket, while the other was her traditional one piece leotard. I don’t mind her having two outfits, if one poses as her normal day wear, while her other outfit serves as her “hunting” attire. However, if one of these outfits is to de-sexify Vampirella for over sensitive stuffy people, I’m not okay with that. I thought we got a good amount of page time for both outfits. The worm had many forms. Two in particular stood out. In tentacle form, it looked like classic Justice League villain Starro. In his other, more apocalyptic form, the sandworm from Beetlejuice came to mind. If you’re going to appeal to my nostalgia, those are good places to go. The violence, blood and gore in this book, feature in appropriate amounts. There’s a good balance of decapitation and impaling. Neither get’s the short end of the stake so to speak! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) My favourite pages featured the fight between Le Fanu and Vampirella at the night club. It’s a clash of a more modern vampire aesthetic, with the old school gothic vampire aesthetic. Also, there’s a great moment where the entire building collapses on Le Fanu, and she’s impaled right through the chest, by a giant crucifix.
Reviewing for this website is great. Not only do I get to share reviews of stuff I already love with you guys. I also get to try new books. One of those books is Vampirella.. This first story arc gives you a bit of mystery, a whole lot of horror, and a good helping of super heroics. If you think Vampirella is simply “Blade with Boobs”, you’d be mistaken. Definitely read this trade paperback for yourself to discover how awesome Vampirella is, if you haven’t already.
Ho-stess’s PS– Various Vampi Visuals. <33333333